Editor's note: The above video is from Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer's media availability on Oct. 6.
SAN JOSE – The end of Raffi Torres’ historically long suspension is drawing near. The Sharks will play their 41st game next Tuesday at Winnipeg, and Torres would be eligible to return against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 14.
His ongoing knee issues, though, could prevent that. Torres admitted on Tuesday that he’s still having good and bad days with the knee, after enduring several surgeries and procedures over the last few years.
“The sad thing about it is I feel good, way better day-to-day walking around and hanging out with the family and playing with my kids, but to try and get back at playing at this level, it’s tough,” said Torres, who missed all of last season and most of 2013-14. “Guys are flying out there. Guys are strong. Obviously, I put myself in a situation where I’ve got to play catch-up again.
“Personally, I expect to go out there and I want to be pain-free and play. But, the reality is there are some hurdles. If I can get over them and get over the hump, I still feel like I can be effective in this league. But, if I don’t, then it’s obviously time to think about some other things.”
Most recently, Torres had a subchondroplasty procedure on Dec. 11 at Stanford University. He explained that it involved a scope to clean up scar tissue, and a “calcium deposit injection they put into the top part of the tibia.”
“There are no shock-absorbers in [the knee] so it’s supposed to help with the bone-on-bone feeling, get rid of that knife-stabbing sensation that I’d be having trying to get back.”
Torres skated again on Tuesday morning, first with development coach Mike Ricci and then for a portion of the team’s hour-long practice.
He offered a window into what he’s dealing with on a day-to-day basis.
“I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I know where I’m at in my career. It’s a daily grind. I can’t tell you how it’s going to feel next week, because I don’t even know. I thought yesterday after getting on the ice I had a good day, but I was sore all day. Then I was going to bed last night, I was like, ‘Man I don’t know if I’ll be able to skate tomorrow.’ Then I wake up and go through my warmups and I feel good. It’s just mind games right now with my body.”
Torres is working hard to return not just because the 34-year-old pending unrestricted free agent wants to extend his career, but because of the way the organization has stuck by him through his various injuries and suspensions. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer has already said that an effective Torres would be welcomed back.
“There are tons of people that have gone out of their way to help me to get where I am, just to get me right here right now putting skates on again,” Torres said. “I owe it to the organization who stuck with me and to everybody that’s helped me along the way to give it my all. We’ll be able to tell here within the next couple weeks.”
Torres played in three preseason games with the Sharks, going scoreless with 10 penalty minutes. He was suspended for 41 games for hitting the Anaheim Ducks' Jakob Silfverberg with a check to the head on Oct. 3.